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AB-1775 False reports and harassment.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/31/2020 09:00 PM
AB1775:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 31, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  June 17, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 09, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1775


Introduced by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Bonta and Mark Stone)
(Principal coauthor: Senator Skinner)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Cristina Garcia, Gipson, Gonzalez, McCarty, and Santiago)
(Coauthors: Senators Umberg and Wieckowski)

February 22, 2019


An act to amend Sections 47 and 51.7 of the Civil Code, and to amend Section 653y of the Penal Code, relating to crimes. harassment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1775, as amended, Jones-Sawyer. 911 emergency system: harassment. False reports and harassment.
(1) Existing law makes certain publications and communications, including certain communications in a legislative proceeding, judicial proceeding, any other official proceeding authorized by law, or in the initiation or course of any other proceeding authorized by law and reviewable pursuant to a writ of mandate, privileged, and therefore protected from civil action, subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions include any communication made in a judicial proceeding knowingly concealing the existence of an insurance policy or policies.
This bill would additionally create an exception to the privilege provisions for any communication between a person and a law enforcement agency in which the person knowingly or recklessly makes a false report that another person has committed, or is in the act of committing, a criminal act or is engaged in an activity requiring law enforcement intervention.
(2) Existing law, the Ralph Civil Rights Act of 1976, provides that all persons within the jurisdiction of this state have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against their persons or property because of political affiliation, or on account of position in a labor dispute, or sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status, or because another person perceives them to have one or more of those characteristics. Existing law provides civil remedies for violations of those provisions.
This bill would provide that intimidation by threat of violence includes knowingly or recklessly making or threatening to make a false claim or report to a peace officer or law enforcement agency alleging that another person has engaged in unlawful activity or in an activity that requires law enforcement intervention.

Existing

(3) Existing law makes it an infraction for a person to knowingly allow the use of or use the 911 emergency system for any reason other than because of an emergency. A violation of this prohibition is punishable by a warning for a first violation and specified, graduated fines for subsequent violations, including a fine of up to $250 for a 4th or subsequent violation.
This bill would increase the penalty for a violation of that provision if a person knowingly allows the use of or uses the 911 emergency system for the purpose of harassing another. The bill would make a first violation of that prohibition an infraction punishable by a $250 fine or a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in a county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both that imprisonment and fine. The bill would make a 2nd or subsequent violation a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in a county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both that imprisonment and fine. The bill would also provide that if a person knowingly allows the use of or uses the 911 emergency system for the purpose of harassing a person and that act is a hate crime or other, specified crime committed against another person on the basis of the other person’s actual or perceived characteristics, including race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, the crime would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in a county jail, a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,000, or both that imprisonment and fine.
By increasing the penalty for certain crimes to make them punishable by imprisonment in a county jail, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(4) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to end instances of 911 emergency system calls that are aimed at violating the rights of individuals based upon race, religion, sex, gender expression, or any other protected class. Existing law on false police reporting does not address the growing number of cases in which peace officers are summoned to violate the rights of individuals for engaging in everyday activities, such as those individuals essentially living their lives.
(b) All Californians, including people of color, should have the liberty to live their lives, and to go about their business, without living under the threat or fear of being confronted by police. These prejudicial 911 emergency system calls cause mistrust between communities of color and institutions, and those calls further deteriorate community-police relations. This is especially true when the police are summoned as forces of exclusion. Thus, it is incumbent upon the Legislature to end the use of law enforcement as a personal force by people who harbor discriminatory animus.
(c) This act is not intended to discourage individuals who are facing real danger, who want to report a crime, or who are experiencing a medical or psychiatric emergency, from making a 911 emergency system call for assistance. However, this act will allow those who have been subject to unfair and prejudicial 911 emergency system calls to regain their agency by seeking justice and restitution through the criminal and civil court system.

SEC. 2.

 Section 47 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

47.
 A privileged publication or broadcast is one made:
(a) In the proper discharge of an official duty.
(b) In any (1) legislative proceeding, (2) judicial proceeding, (3) in any other official proceeding authorized by law, or (4) in the initiation or course of any other proceeding authorized by law and reviewable pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1084) of Title 1 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, except as follows:
(1) An allegation or averment contained in any pleading or affidavit filed in an action for marital dissolution or legal separation made of or concerning a person by or against whom no affirmative relief is prayed in the action shall not be a privileged publication or broadcast as to the person making the allegation or averment within the meaning of this section unless the pleading is verified or affidavit sworn to, and is made without malice, by one having reasonable and probable cause for believing the truth of the allegation or averment and unless the allegation or averment is material and relevant to the issues in the action.
(2) This subdivision does not make privileged any communication made in furtherance of an act of intentional destruction or alteration of physical evidence undertaken for the purpose of depriving a party to litigation of the use of that evidence, whether or not the content of the communication is the subject of a subsequent publication or broadcast which is privileged pursuant to this section. As used in this paragraph, “physical evidence” means evidence specified in Section 250 of the Evidence Code or evidence that is property of any type specified in Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 2031.010) of Title 4 of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(3) This subdivision does not make privileged any communication made in a judicial proceeding knowingly concealing the existence of an insurance policy or policies.
(4) A recorded lis pendens is not a privileged publication unless it identifies an action previously filed with a court of competent jurisdiction which affects the title or right of possession of real property, as authorized or required by law.
(5) This subdivision does not make privileged any communication between a person and a law enforcement agency in which the person makes a false report that another person has committed, or is in the act of committing, a criminal act or is engaged in an activity requiring law enforcement intervention, knowing that the report is false, or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the report.
(c) In a communication, without malice, to a person interested therein, (1) by one who is also interested, or (2) by one who stands in such a relation to the person interested as to afford a reasonable ground for supposing the motive for the communication to be innocent, or (3) who is requested by the person interested to give the information. This subdivision applies to and includes a communication concerning the job performance or qualifications of an applicant for employment, based upon credible evidence, made without malice, by a current or former employer of the applicant to, and upon request of, one whom the employer reasonably believes is a prospective employer of the applicant. This subdivision applies to and includes a complaint of sexual harassment by an employee, without malice, to an employer based upon credible evidence and communications between the employer and interested persons, without malice, regarding a complaint of sexual harassment. This subdivision authorizes a current or former employer, or the employer’s agent, to answer, without malice, whether or not the employer would rehire a current or former employee and whether the decision to not rehire is based upon the employer’s determination that the former employee engaged in sexual harassment. This subdivision shall does not apply to a communication concerning the speech or activities of an applicant for employment if the speech or activities are constitutionally protected, or otherwise protected by Section 527.3 of the Code of Civil Procedure or any other provision of law.
(d) (1) By a fair and true report in, or a communication to, a public journal, of (A) a judicial, (B) legislative, or (C) other public official proceeding, or (D) of anything said in the course thereof, or (E) of a verified charge or complaint made by any person to a public official, upon which complaint a warrant has been issued.
(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall make Paragraph (1) does not make privileged any communication to a public journal that does any of the following:
(A) Violates Rule 5-120 of the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.
(B) Breaches a court order.
(C) Violates any a requirement of confidentiality imposed by law.
(e) By a fair and true report of (1) the proceedings of a public meeting, if the meeting was lawfully convened for a lawful purpose and open to the public, or (2) the publication of the matter complained of was for the public benefit.

SEC. 3.

 Section 51.7 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

51.7.
 (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Ralph Civil Rights Act of 1976.
(b) (1) All persons within the jurisdiction of this state have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against their persons or property because of political affiliation, or on account of any characteristic listed or defined in subdivision (b) or (e) of Section 51, or position in a labor dispute, or because another person perceives them to have one or more of those characteristics. The identification in this subdivision of particular bases of discrimination is illustrative rather than restrictive.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “intimidation by threat of violence” includes, but is not limited to, making or threatening to make a claim or report to a peace officer or law enforcement agency that falsely alleges that another person has engaged in unlawful activity or in an activity that requires law enforcement intervention, knowing that the claim or report is false, or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the claim or report.
(c) (1) A person shall not require another person to waive any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section, as a condition of entering into a contract for goods or services, including the right to file and pursue a civil action or complaint with, or otherwise notify, the Attorney General or any other public prosecutor, or law enforcement agency, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or any court or other governmental entity.
(2) A person shall not refuse to enter into a contract with, or refuse to provide goods or services to, another person on the basis that the other person refuses to waive any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section, including the right to file and pursue a civil action or complaint with, or otherwise notify, the Attorney General or any other public prosecutor, or law enforcement agency, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or any other governmental entity.
(3) Any waiver of any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section, including the right to file and pursue a civil action or complaint with, or otherwise notify, the Attorney General or any other public prosecutor, or law enforcement agency, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or any other governmental entity shall be knowing and voluntary, in writing, and expressly not made as a condition of entering into a contract for goods or services or as a condition of providing or receiving goods and services.
(4) Any waiver of any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section that is required as a condition of entering into a contract for goods or services shall be deemed involuntary, unconscionable, against public policy, and unenforceable. Nothing in this subdivision shall This subdivision does not affect the enforceability or validity of any other provision of the contract.
(5) Any A person who seeks to enforce a waiver of any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section shall have has the burden of proving that the waiver was knowing and voluntary and not made as a condition of the contract or of providing or receiving the goods or services.
(6) The exercise of a person’s right to refuse to waive any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section, including a rejection of a contract requiring a waiver, shall does not affect any otherwise legal terms of a contract or an agreement.
(7) This subdivision shall does not apply to any an agreement to waive any legal rights, penalties, remedies, forums, or procedures for a violation of this section after a legal claim has arisen.
(8) This subdivision shall apply to any applies to an agreement to waive any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section, including an agreement to accept private arbitration, entered into, altered, modified, renewed, or extended on or after January 1, 2015.
(d) This section does not apply to statements concerning positions in a labor dispute that are made during otherwise lawful labor picketing.
(e) The Legislature finds and declares that this section was enacted as part of the Ralph Civil Rights Act of 1976, in Chapter 1293 of the Statutes of 1976.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to This section does not negate or otherwise abrogate the provisions of Sections 1668, 1953, and 3513.

SECTION 1.SEC. 4.

 Section 653y of the Penal Code is amended to read:

653y.
 (a) A person who knowingly allows the use of or who uses the 911 emergency system for any reason other than because of an emergency is guilty of an infraction, punishable as follows:
(1) For a first violation, a written warning shall be issued to the violator by the public safety entity originally receiving the telephone call or the communication from an electronic device describing the punishment for subsequent violations. The written warning shall inform the recipient to notify the issuing agency that the warning was issued inappropriately if the recipient did not make, or knowingly allow the use of the 911 emergency system for, the nonemergency 911 telephone call or the communication from an electronic device. The law enforcement agency may provide educational materials regarding the appropriate use of the 911 emergency system.
(2) For a second or subsequent violation, a citation may be issued by the public safety entity originally receiving the telephone call or the communication from an electronic device pursuant to which the violator shall be subject to the following penalties that may be reduced by a court upon consideration of the violator’s ability to pay:
(A) For a second violation, a fine of fifty dollars ($50).
(B) For a third violation, a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).
(C) For a fourth or subsequent violation, a fine of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250).
(3) The parent or legal guardian having custody and control of an unemancipated minor who violates this section is jointly and severally liable with the minor for the fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision.
(b) Knowingly allowing the use of or using the 911 emergency system for the purpose of harassing another is a crime that is punishable as follows:
(1) For a first violation, as an infraction punishable by a two-hundred-fifty dollar ($250) fine or as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in a county jail, a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that imprisonment and fine.
(2) For a second or subsequent violation, as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in a county jail, a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that imprisonment and fine.
(c) If a person knowingly allows the use of or uses the 911 emergency system for the purpose of harassing another person and that act is an act described in Section 422.55 or 422.85, the person who commits the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in a county jail, a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), or both that imprisonment and fine.
(d) For purposes of this section, “emergency” means any condition in which emergency services will result in the saving of a life, a reduction in the destruction of property, quicker apprehension of criminals, or assistance with potentially life-threatening medical problems, a fire, a need for rescue, an imminent potential crime, or a similar situation in which immediate assistance is required.
(e) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), this section does not apply to a telephone corporation or any other entity for acts or omissions relating to the routine maintenance, repair, or operation of the 911 emergency system or the 311 telephone system.
(2) This section does not apply to uses of the 911 emergency system by a person with an intellectual disability or other mental disability that makes it difficult or impossible for the person to understand the potential consequences of their actions.

SEC. 2.SEC. 5.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.